songofcopper: (peter hammill)
I’ve been scribbling in my purple notebook. I did a lot of that last year: so, you see, whilst I was indisposed, I was not wholly idle. At the moment I’m doing a sort of vampire tale, inspired by watching some of the films of Jean Rollin. My favourite of these so far (and I think, my overall favourite vampire film by anyone) is ‘The Shiver of the Vampires’. It’s difficult to describe well without spoilers, so instead here are some stills:

shiver_of_the_vampires_castle
Mauve-tinged castle

Creep inside... )

*****************************

Meanwhile (twirling pen around fingers): Why write about vampires? What can there be left to say about such hackneyed nonsense? I think that in itself - the saturation-level cliché - is the draw. There are so many obvious things to say, it becomes a happy little puzzle to try and avoid saying those things and to say something different instead.

Another vampire film I particularly enjoyed has its own take on this. ‘They Have Changed Their Face’ (1971, dir. Corrado Farina - he of ‘Baba Yaga’ fame) portrays the deathless parasites as capitalist industrialists.

hanno-cambiato-faccia-name
The clue's in the name...

The modern parasite )

*****************************

One last fanged curio for your interest: ‘Blood is the Color of Night’ (1964, dir. Gerardo de Leon), which has the distinction of being ‘the first colour horror picture produced in the Philippines’. This is a great example of necessity as the mother of invention: colour stock was scarce/expensive over there at the time, so it had to be used sparingly. For that reason, some scenes in this film are in b&w, others are in full colour, and others are tinted - in jewel-bright blue or ruby red. This even becomes a plot device: when you see an eerie red glow, you know there is vampire business afoot. It gives the whole film a special atmosphere, without which it would be just another obscure and wacky b-movie.


blood_is_the_color_of_night_Dr_Marco_3
Dr. Marco in the pink.

Multicoloured melodrama )

*****************************

Vampire stories almost always pit Christianity against (other forms of) superstition, and modern science against local folklore. Customarily you find that the church’s notions of passion/sacrifice, transubstantiation and eternal life are mirrored and mocked by their vampiric equivalents. I wonder if this is a way of expressing the horror and scariness of religion itself. No-one is really scared of dying - it’s the before and after states that are terrifying. Pain whilst still alive, followed by decomposition, paradoxically countered by the horrifying, bizarre alternative of life after death - these are fearful indeed.

In his book Mr Frayling tells that reports of vampires often crop up in places where there is religious or political conflict/a change of rulership. It’s one of those ‘formal discredit’ tropes. A bit like how Roman historians were obliged to make the previous emperor look as effeminate and mentally-unbalanced as possible, and 18th C. cartoonists ceremonially exaggerated the Prince Regent’s waistline. Nowadays we take aim at Mr Trump’s awful hair, epidermal orangeness and tiny wee extremities. These ritual taunts have little to do with actual events or policies, but they help us communicate our wordless fears about powerful individuals.

Despite everything, we still value our souls.
songofcopper: (full head & shoulders)
[Notice to Patrons: I've purposefully avoided reading any in-depth reviews of this film before writing mine. Also, I am unwellversed in matters comic-related. So if I say something stupidly-obvious, that is why. I'll be interested to go off afterwards and see what other people think! NB: Spoilers.]

Yesterday we went to the kinema to see 'Man of Steel'. It was quite an unusual experience. Usually I go to see these comic book action movies and just sit there and shrug at the blandness of them. This one, however, caused such symptoms as the Raised Eyebrow, the Scoop-of-Air Palmed at the Screen, and the Turn to your Neighbour and Smirk. Also the Falling-Open Mouth. Really.

Man of Stelae )

Flim Flam

Tuesday, 19 March 2013 12:06
songofcopper: (disdainful domination!)
How was your weekend? Did you have an exciting adventure? Did you discover something, or forget or remember or buy or sell or drink or kiss or or or...?

Me, I was very, very tired. I stayed indoors and watched films. (Adventure-outsourcing, one might say.)

Of course, that wasn't all I did - I noticed an interesting phenomenon. Sleep deprivation can, in small doses, unlock a glittering portal in the brain - granting access to that plush and chintzy backstage area of your mind that you always suspected was there, Beyonce-ready with a white velvet chaise longue, Laurent-Perrier on ice, scent-organs wafting calming vanilla-musk, flunkeys AND lackeys, and a solemn shirtless long-fingered youth whose sole purpose is to perform shiatsu and look decorative, whilst his twin brother grooms your pedigree Pomeranian... hotcha!

It's nice there until the inevitable Diva Meltdown that will happen past a certain point of insufficiency in the Arms-o'-Morpheus dept.

In other words, I suspected that I couldn't function well for long on slightly less than half the recommended nightly allowance of sleep, but have now proved it empirically. Thus, the weekend required dedicated, focused laziness - and a mental screensaver (movies work well) to sluice away the Byzantine* excesses of the zzz-starved thoughtmode. [*Avoid this word, by the way, when your brain is tired, along with all others that seem to have so many alternative pronunciations!!]

Moral: I've never tried cocaine*, nor am I likely to do so, but perhaps lack-o'-zzz is a cheaper, less sticky option anyway. The overall effects appear to be rather similar. Someone needs to tell all celebratties. [*Or any of those other sugar-or-talc-substitutes, nor even baccy, of the plain or patterned kind. With my constitution, boring old oxygen is quite enough of an oooh. Having said that, I did chew coca leaf in Peru. But only cos the air woz rare, innit?]

But I sense that you may not like to know all this gnonzense, and all upon a Tuesday morning too, so let us draw across a line of dainty dots and Move On!
* * * * *

Now then, where was I...?

Oh yes, Films. Or indeed Flims, as they are called in this house. (No word is ever safe. Even the DVD turns into a VDV, which sounds more interesting than it should.)

"You fucking broke my sitar, motherfucker!" )

"You fucking stole my cocoanut, motherfucker!" )

"You fucking entombed me in molten gold, motherfucker!" )

Eat My Lead

Sunday, 17 February 2013 16:59
songofcopper: (idiots with guns. (Man from UNCLE))
Hello, hello. How are you (yes, You?)? I'm pretty tip-top, apart from the fact that I just slipped on the last-but-one step on the stairs and landed on my arse. >.< I seem to have come off unscathed, even in the sense-of-humour department, so that's lucky I guess! ;-)

Well, now; Valentine's Day - I will deal with this topic swiftly in case anyone reading this has an especial dislike of the festival - we kept things low-key this year, and very nice it was too. On the day itself I cooked a beautiful curry for David (complete with homemade flatbreads - worth doing, they were easy and delicious), and yesterday he took me out to Barnstaple for the day. We had a meal at a fish restaurant and then went to see the new 'Die Hard' film. The meal was very good; the film, however, was pretty dire, to the point that I had to try not to giggle in places. Maybe I'd better try and review it...

A Good Day To Visit The Toilet... )

Return Of The Mighty Gong )
songofcopper: (disdainful domination!)
I saw this recently, and fell slightly in love:



That is Peter Cook bedazzling up a storm there. ^_^  I've never been that enamoured of Peter Cook, he always comes across as being too clever by half and a bit... I dunno... hard-hearted. :-\  But here, he demonstrates how alluring aloofness can be!  Is anyone else swooning...?

Mustn't forget, though, that Dudley Moore composed the score.  All the music is great, from start to finish.

The whole film (Bedazzled) is really good, much better by far than the remake.  Even though it's funny and the humour is quite silly in places (trampolining nuns, anyone?!), it has a melancholy quality to it, too.  I suppose even in the super-optimistic 60s, not everybody felt that the times they were a-changin' for the better.  We may have grand ideas and noble aims in this life, but what if all the involuntary, petty, split-second moments of anger, cruelty, venality and greed that pepper our larger strivings add up to damnation?  If not perhaps in any kind of afterlife, they probably do in this one...  If the road to Hell really is paved with good intentions, this film puts that across really well - be careful (and very precise about) what you wish for, folks! ;-)

And in the meantime, distracting oneself with amusing films and clever musical parodies is as soothing a balm as I have yet found. ^_^
songofcopper: (disdainful domination!)
I saw this recently, and fell slightly in love:



That is Peter Cook bedazzling up a storm there. ^_^  I've never been that enamoured of Peter Cook, he always comes across as being too clever by half and a bit... I dunno... hard-hearted. :-\  But here, he demonstrates how alluring aloofness can be!  Is anyone else swooning...?

Mustn't forget, though, that Dudley Moore composed the score.  All the music is great, from start to finish.

The whole film (Bedazzled) is really good, much better by far than the remake.  Even though it's funny and the humour is quite silly in places (trampolining nuns, anyone?!), it has a melancholy quality to it, too.  I suppose even in the super-optimistic 60s, not everybody felt that the times they were a-changin' for the better.  We may have grand ideas and noble aims in this life, but what if all the involuntary, petty, split-second moments of anger, cruelty, venality and greed that pepper our larger strivings add up to damnation?  If not perhaps in any kind of afterlife, they probably do in this one...  If the road to Hell really is paved with good intentions, this film puts that across really well - be careful (and very precise about) what you wish for, folks! ;-)

And in the meantime, distracting oneself with amusing films and clever musical parodies is as soothing a balm as I have yet found. ^_^
songofcopper: (neg)
Have you ever sat and watched a film and thought to yourself the whole way through how really, it should have been cast and shot a whole different way?  Or filmed during a whole different era?  I had this feeling all the way through ‘Match Point’, which I saw on TV the other evening.  It’s a recent Woody Allen film and is set mostly in London.  At the same time as it is one of those ‘eavesdropping’/naturalistic films where you are supposed to feel like a fly on the wall of someone’s story, it is also a ‘broad brushstrokes’, fable-ish sort of film too, in which the story glosses over a lot of minutiae.

Well, to cut a long story short, I would like to have seen the 1964, black and white British movie version of this film.  Overall…  This film was reasonably diverting, and its real cast played their parts well – although it is hardly a stretch for Jonathan Rhys Meyers to do that barely-suppressed angst/tremulous pout thing, or indeed for Scarlett Johansson to bloom and smoulder in a tight blouse.  But it was fun ‘re-casting’ it!  I think the ‘1964 version’ might have worked better…
songofcopper: (neg)
Have you ever sat and watched a film and thought to yourself the whole way through how really, it should have been cast and shot a whole different way?  Or filmed during a whole different era?  I had this feeling all the way through ‘Match Point’, which I saw on TV the other evening.  It’s a recent Woody Allen film and is set mostly in London.  At the same time as it is one of those ‘eavesdropping’/naturalistic films where you are supposed to feel like a fly on the wall of someone’s story, it is also a ‘broad brushstrokes’, fable-ish sort of film too, in which the story glosses over a lot of minutiae.

Well, to cut a long story short, I would like to have seen the 1964, black and white British movie version of this film.  Overall…  This film was reasonably diverting, and its real cast played their parts well – although it is hardly a stretch for Jonathan Rhys Meyers to do that barely-suppressed angst/tremulous pout thing, or indeed for Scarlett Johansson to bloom and smoulder in a tight blouse.  But it was fun ‘re-casting’ it!  I think the ‘1964 version’ might have worked better…

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Eavesdrop, snoop, and sigh with yearning…

This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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